The Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, peace be on Him, was a great advocate of inter-faith dialogue. He opposed the distorted concept of Jihad i.e. the concept of attacking and killing non-believers with swords and promoted, not only in speech but in practice, a Jihad of a greater nature. He took Jihad to mean a peaceful way of striving in the way of Allah the Almighty. This supreme form of Jihad was, he believed, only possible through dialogue and discourse.
He claimed to be the Promised Reformer, the Promised Messiah and the Mahdi who was prophesied by most major religions to appear in the latter days.
This led him to further believe in the fact that all religions had to be united under the banner of one religion which was none else but the religion of Islam. To prove this fact, he took up the lifelong Jihad of writing and debating with not only people of other religions, but his co-religionists also.
In this great service of Islam, he wrote to Queen Victoria and invited her to accept the peaceful message of Islam.
He proposed to her that since she was the Empress of a vast part of the world and adherents of a variety of religions lived under her rule, so it would be a great idea that she arranged for an inter-faith conference to take place in London. This conference, he proposed, could see representatives of all religions coming together in a peaceful manner and introducing their faiths and their teachings.
Although this could not happen in his lifetime, or even in the lifetime of Queen Victoria, the world famous Conference of World Religions held in 1924 under the auspices of the British Empire in London was exactly on the lines that he had once proposed a couple of decades ago.
To attend this conference, his successor, who also happened to be his son, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmadra travelled from Qadian to London as a representative of Islam Ahmadiyya, to deliver an address. This address, now published under the title The Ahmadiyya Movement, was read out in the conference by Sir Muhammad Zafrullah Khan Sahibra, a companion who had travelled with Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmadra from India. It was received wholeheartedly by all in attendance and appreciated by Sir Dennison Ross who presided the session.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat has a very rich history of promoting the concept of inter-faith dialogue. The present head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, may Allah strengthen his hand, has worked tirelessly in promoting this peaceful means of inter-faith peace and harmony.
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